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Putting sore feet to rest

Why wearing the
wrong shoes is
trouble for anyone
wanting to live an
active lifestyle.

By Christine Teskey

Feet are the most used, abused and neglected part of the body, say podiatrists.

Dr. Kel Sherkin, immediate past president of the Ontario Podiatric Medical Association, says wearing the wrong shoe can get in the way of a good workout.

Podiatrists say athletes don’t protect their feet as well as they should, and that’s why fitness buffs face the pain of blisters, corns, and even runner’s nail.

This year’s OCAA cross country championship winner, David Sharratt of the Conestoga Condors, is a runner whose performance has been hindered by blisters. He has gone through many shoe brands, including Nike and Adidas, but found Brooks and Asics to be the most comfortable.

Sharratt says he experienced bad blisters with a Nike shoe that was too narrow for him because it was not a width Nike model. His toes bled which forced him to take days off from training. “I have a bit of a wider foot, so I look for making sure they (shoes) have a wider fit,” he says.

If buying a new pair of shoes isn’t in your budget, add a high-tech, off the shelf insole to an older shoe to add SOME SUPPORT.

Dr. Peter Wilson,
Wilson’s Foot Clinic in Burlington


A runner and walker himself, Sherkin says corns and calluses cause numerous problems.

A corn is a spot of hard skin on top of or between the toe and a callus is hard skin on the bottom of the foot. They form because of friction against a boney area causing the skin to react by forming a hard protective layer. Reducing friction or pressure, so the skin rests and stops forming a protective skin covering, can help eliminate them.

The number one rule in buying a shoe is to not pick shoes that are only recommended by friends and family members, or shoes that look good on a TV commercial, says Tom Irwin, store manager for the Kingsway Village Running Room in Toronto. If it’s not a good fit, then it’s the wrong shoe.

Running shoes are broken down into three categories: stability, cushioning, and motion control, says Irwin. They should fit snugly at the heel, have a quarter to half an inch or a thumb nail width buffer between your longest toe and the end of the shoe, wiggle room for your toes, and no pinching on the sides, he says.

Without the extra room, toes can bang into the end of the shoe, causing them to bruise or bleed; a condition called runner’s nail.

If buying a new pair isn’t in the budget, Dr. Peter Wilson of Wilson’s Foot Clinic in Burlington, ON. recommends adding a hightech, off the shelf insole to an older shoe in order to add some support. Costing about $20 to $30, the price is significantly lower than buying a new pair of shoes.

You will know when a shoe is old enough to replace or repair when it doesn’t fit snugly anymore, causing your foot to move inside the shoe, he says.

Orthotics are an option when you need to correct and prevent foot problems such as calluses, bunions, heel and arch pain, and flat feet, Sherkin says. But you should consult a podiatrist first to see if there is an alternative treatment to alleviate your foot pain, as custom- made orthotics can cost upwards of $300.